Taking the time to design a Google Analytics-Friendly website is time well spent. By planning navigation and buy paths, and identifying pages that are critical to recording visitor and shopper buy paths, you’ll collect the analytics you need to confirm what’s working well and what’s not.
How to design a Google Analytics-friendly site is a question people ask us often enough at trade shows and in sales calls that I thought it worth summarizing. It’s a two-step process; setting up the site correctly, and then proprely configuring Google Analytics to track what you need to track.
Here are some of things that we do when setting sites up:
1. Domains and Subdomains
It’s usually best to keep your content on the main domain and use subfolders or directories instead of subdomians. This has a lot to do with how Google treats content when it’s crawling your site.
An example of a URL structure that I don’t recommend is:
Instead, this is what I’d recommend:
2. Desktop/Mobile/Tablet Traffic to Site
I find traffic reports from different devices fascinating. (They’re not everybody’s favorite reading material but they reveal a lot about your customers).
Using Google Analytics, we can tell how mobile and tablet devices are performing on your site compared to their desktop counterparts. If you see that you are getting a lot of traffic but not many conversions from smaller screens, you could use this data to pitch the need for a responsive web design. If you already have a responsive site and your conversion rates are still comparatively low, you need to optimize and refine the mobile experience.
3. Content Groupings
Content Grouping let you group content into a logical structure that reflects how you think about your site or app, and then view and compare aggregated metrics by group name in addition to being able to drill down to the individual URL, page title, or screen name.
They’re really exciting and a great way to organize your site content in Google Analytics to see how people are browsing, and confirm whether it’s helping or hurting conversions on site.
You can have multiple content groupings and multiple cogent groups within each grouping. Imagine that you run a jewelry store online. You could have a content grouping for Rings and then individual content groups for men’s rings, women’s rings, wedding bands or engagement rings.
Note: We’ll post more on Content Groupings and how to effectively use them. For now, here is an overview from Google.
4. Site Search
Integrating site search into your site and regularly analyzing search data will help understand user intent on your site. The data will help you answer questions like “Can a customer find what they’re looking for?”, “How many times did they revise their search?”, and “How many paying vs non paying customers used search?”
5. Third-Party Payment Solutions
I really like and recommend Stripe for on-site payments. You can easily implement it on most sites and platforms, and it works great alongside Google Analytics ecommerce tracking. If your site requires a third-party payment solution, you can implement cross-domain tracking and ecommerce tracking with Google Analytics.
Note: this will requires some development resources to complete.
6. Thank You Pages
Thank you pages are a really great way to track conversions on your site, especially if it’s not an ecommerce site. Here are three options to do this:
1. You might want to track a PDF download or send someone to a special page when they submit a form. Send them to a “Thank You “ page and register the page as a goal in Google Analytics.
2. If you want to quantify the value of your conversion efforts (prove to the bosses that your efforts really are working) by establish a monetary value for your goal.
3. Instead of a thank you page, you can register the event as a virtual page view and track it as a goal. This is a more advanced tactic that you can learn about through Google’s Developers Forum.
That’s it. Now you know how to develop a Google Analytics-friendly website. Implement these ideas and you will be well on your way to making good data-driven decisions for your site! If you need any help, FastPivot ‘s ecommerce experts are available. Give us a call.